Homemade Almond Fudge Brownies - Celebrations by Sharon



My niece, Gaby, came back from her afternoon class showing me her multiple stars stamped on both of her arms. I told her to get her reward inside our Lola's old jar. I've just baked Fudge Brownies to be brought to my officemates courtesy of Maya Kitchen's Fudge Brownie Mix again. I adore my Lola's vintage jar! I took a picture before I let her get a piece of brownie. 

"Hmmmm", she said while smelling the freshly baked fudge brownies as she opened the jar. I also get one... it was very delicious. It was my first attempt to bake brownie (ooppps my second actually, here's my first)... and I'm proud, it was a great brownie, a fantastically moist with a fudge-like density. The secret? Do not to overcook it if you want to achieve a moist, fudge-like density brownie.

Before I knew it, we've already eaten almost half of it. More hhmmm and uhhmm, I have nothing left  to bring to my officemates. Well, maybe next time *wink




What You Need:

1/4 cup oil
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup almond nuts, roasted
1 pack The Maya Kitchen Fudge Brownie Mix 230 grams


Here's How I Did It:

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees celcius.

Brush sides and bottom of a 9 by 5 by 1 inch brownie pan with oil.

Blend oil, egg, water, nuts and cake mix in a bowl. Mix until smooth, about 30 strokes. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl.

Pour batter onto prepared pan and smoothen the top.

Bake for 15 minutes or until done.

Cool then cut into 3 by 5 inch squares.





For oven toaster: Line the sides and bottom of an 9 by 5 by 1 inch loaf pan with aluminum foil, glossy part side down. Brush with oil. Follow steps 3-4. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake in oven toaster for 20 minutes, turning the pan sideways every 4-5 minutes or until done. Cool then cut into 3 by 5 inch squares.



Room Review | Duhat Lanai Suite Porta Verde, Cavinti, Laguna



Rustic, pleasant and quiet. That’s what Rome thought the moment they set foot in Porta Verde Resort Villas located south of Lake Caliraya in Lumot, Cavinti, Laguna. "The grass is definitely greener in the countryside", he said, amazed with the breathtaking view of the man-made lake. 

Anney booked them here for 3 days and 2 nights to celebrate Rome and Cyra's birthdays through an online deal amounting to Php5,280 per night for 6 people. Children under 10 years old are free of charge (maximum of 2 children). They were billeted to stay in an exotic oriental influence villa, Duhat Lanai Suite. The suite has a kitchenette that leads to a covered lanai providing a spectacular view of the small swimming pool and Lake Lumot. The kitchen has kitchen facilities and vintage utensils that Peachy adored. Since the resort has no restaurant, guests are allowed to bring food. Anney conceptualized their dishes since there’s no corkage fee on food. Click here to check Rome's birthday dishes.




The kitchen is equipped with small refrigerator, rice cooker, oven toaster, microwave oven, goblets, coffee-maker, stove, plates, saucers, forks, knives, and spoons. Cook wares were also provided. There's free one gallon mineral water provided for each suite for (2) two nights of stay. Guests are required to receive all items in good condition and similar checklist will be cleared upon check out or you will pay Php 1, 000.00 if you've lost even a single spoon.






Duhat Lanai Suite has a floor area of 100 square meters. It has a fully air- conditioned family room with 2 single beds, one queen size bed with an en- suite bathroom. It has a bay window with a day bed and a sofa bed.  Duhat Lanai Suite has a floor area of 100 square meters. For total serenity experience, there's no TV in the suite. Wifi access and TV are only available at the recreation area beside the swimming pool.




Overall, it was a remarkable room considering the bargain price. It has a unique beauty and appeal. Everything is neat and tidy, linens and towels are changed everyday. And because it is a ground floor room, they need to keep the curtains drawn at all times for privacy.


Porta Verde Resort Villas 
Lumot, Cavinti, Laguna, Philippines 
For reservations, please contact: 
Phone #: (02) 8078414 or (0929)506.9963



The Ayala Triangle Project - Amici and Caramia Gelateria


 Linguine Al Prosciutto E Tartufo, Php 288 


Mama Mia! Amici was sooo Italian. We felt like we were on Italian holiday when me and my two good old friends, Lady and Jim, dined here two months ago.

It was "pay" day and as I've expected, Makati yuppies were all heading to Ayala Triangle Gardens. The parade of restaurant that I passed through Amici were crowded. Dissapointed when I can't find vacant table inside, I stepped outside to smoke and told one of the crews to reserve 3 seater table. She handed me their menu and I chose our dishes while waiting at the al fresco area.  As usual, both of them sent me an sms that they will be arriving a little bit late. 

Amici is located at the farthest side of Ayala Triangle Gardens. Like the other restaurants in the garden that I've featured, it has a cozy ambiance. Occupying inside is Caramia Gelateria, an extension of Amici that serves homemade Italian gelato.


Mozzarella Frito, Php 225.00


My friends, whom I met when I worked in Cisco, arrived soon in perfect time when the crew called me to show the just vacated table. We settled down and requested for our drinks to be served - a large pitcher of iced tea. We started our conversation and over the three pieces of golden fried mozzarella sticks served with tangy pomodoro sauce. It was crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  Each bite was so flavorful and left us craving for more.

Iced Tea, Php 170.00/Pitcher


Gossip sharing was interrupted with the familiar scent of the salt in the sea from the freshly baked Pizza Napoletana, the smell awakened my Italian palate. We dug in immediately when served. I was expecting the first bang of an authentic Italian cuisine and on my first bite, I found out that the anchovies with olives and mozzarella cheese pizza was kinda salty but indeed, a remarkable Italian classic.


 Napolitana, Php 318.00 - Anchovis and Olives


Soon enough, oil and cream based Linguine Al Prosciutto E Tartufo and  Linguine Al Salmon Cremoso were served. Linguine Al Prosciutto E Tartufo is a flavorful combination of prosciutto, truffle oil, porcini, and shitake mushrooms. This dish became my utmost favorite in an instant - and is highly recommended. Linguine Al Salmon Cremoso on the other hand, is an Al dente Linguine pasta in thick cream mix with zesty salmon, and glorious white sauce. The servings were big and good for two. In the spirit of fairness among my Amici (friends), we divided the few salmon cubes into three, lol! Seriously though, I think, more salmon cubes would make this dish extra special.


 Linguine Al Salmon Cremoso, Php 305.00



Caramia Gelateria - Ayala Triangle Gardens



Dinning in Amici is like living la dolce vita where good food has that power. And this is as good as it gets with our beautiful desserts from the dessert and Italian gelato extension of Amici, Caramia Gelateria. 
Mango Passion is made of Mango chunks mixed in gelato nestled in layers of rich shortbread pie crust and covered with luscious stripes of mango slices - a fresh and tangy take on a hot summer day while Rouge is a refreshingly fruit-bursting treat of delightful blueberry strawberry, and vanilla gelato on a crust of crushed graham recommended for a romantic Italian dinner date.


Mango Passion Php128.00 / Rouge Php 134.00

Criteria Score
Food Quality 5
Ambiance  4
Service 4
Cost/Prices 4


The project's criteria are; Food Quality, Ambiance, Service, and Cost/Prices, where  Five (5)   indicates "Exceptional Experience", Four (4)  indicates a place "worth a comeback", three (3)  means "a casual place to eat", two (2)   means "acceptable", and one (1))   means "poor".


Glimpsed | Porta Verde Resort Villas, Caliraya, Laguna



Tranquility at its best - Here's a peek to Rome's next destination. An impressive view of the resort's swimming pool almost marrying the famous Caliraya Lake. This photo was taken from the porch of their villa.

Easy Banana Cake from The Maya Kitchen's Mixes

Last two weeks ago, while the tropical cyclone Gorio devastated multiple islands with heavy rain and strong winds causing power outages, cessation of transportation services and displacing thousands of people...I was thinking and craving for yummy banana cake. But I can't go to the nearest mall to buy one. So I made my own, courtesy of the Maya Kitchen's mix. 

This Banana Cake is very easy to make, moist and flavorful with the sweetness of mashed bananas. Great if you have peanut butter or chocolate for frosting and best to eat for morning or afternoon tea.




Ingredients:

3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/4 cup water
2 ripe bananas (approximately 150g, any kind, mashed)
Maya Kitchen's Banana Cake Mix
1 medium egg

Preparation:

1) Line the sides and bottom of an 8 x 3 inch loaf pan with wax paper
2) Combine the cake mix, oil, water, bananas, and egg in a wooden bowl. Beat with wooden spoon until smooth, about 50 strokes.
3) Pour the mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly.
4) Cover loosely with alluminum foil and lightly seal at the edges
5) Bake in the oven toaster for 10 minutes. Turn the pan sideways and bake for 10 minutes more.
6) Check if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick at the center. if it does not come out clean, continue baking for 3-5 minutes until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean and dry. Let cool and serve with  peanut butter or chocolate for frosting.


Resort Review | Grand Villa Resort



What a shame that the Grand Villa Resort looks like a haunted school like those you see on creepy TV show rather than a Hispanic-Balinese inspired resort as their website claimed about. I've documented too much of negativity about this resort and I think it’s unfair not to share its highlights.




Spacious - the resort is nestled in 22-hectare property with manicured grass The greenery was pleasing to the eyes. Rome with his cousins and nieces had a lovely walk across the open grounds. The cool wind from the nearby Mt. Makiling was refreshing on their hot summer day.




There are plenty of function rooms available with name such as Mariposa Hall. The highlight of the resort is the big swimming pool. Rome's nieces had enjoyed swimming all day long with occasional interruption for Anney's photo session. There's ample of places to be photographed and Anney, as always, was unstoppable.







The Ayala Triangle Project - Omakase

 Stuffed Chicken (Chicken roll with bacon inside served with tartar sauce) Php 230.00

The connotation of Japanese food, for me, was looking good but tasting bad. That was before I tried to dine-in at Omakase in Ayala Triangle Gardens last month. There was a scary moment on my way to the restaurant as I compose myself to taste raw food. Honestly, I am not a fan of raw Japanese food but they say that the better way to appreciate food is eating it raw. I admire Japanese food presentation though. I've tried to eat sushi multiple times when I was working in Hotel Fleuris in Palawan where we have a Japanese restaurant (We Be Sushi) but I really didn't like it. Maybe today it would be different, I told myself.

Upon entering the restaurant I was greeted with a warm welcome by the staff wearing black Japanese inspired dress at the door before being taken to a well lit table at the corner of the restaurant. The restaurant has a polished interior and smart furnishings against the backdrop of soft sweet music. Half empty when I arrived, the same staff assisted me throughout the menu and invited to try Kani Miso, a Japanese soup made of crab stick, wakamo and spring onion while finalizing my order. I decided to skip my plan of eating raw Japanese food when I saw their Stuffed Chicken from the menu. The soup was warm and tasted good. As I sipped the soup I noticed that the restaurant has an al fresco area overlooking the greenery of the Ayala Triangle Garden. In the central business area of the busy Makati City, Omakase is a good area for a solitude lunch for anyone.


 Kani Miso (crabstick, wakamo, spring onion) Php 55.00 Kalamansi Juice, Php 60.00

Twenty minutes after, my order arrived: California Maki, Stuffed Chicken, and Kalamansi Juice were placed on my table. I was very much looking forward to tasting the food. The waiter told me that Banana Nut a la Mode will be served later and asked me if I need anything else. I asked a glass of water. Apart from me asking a glass of water, the service was impeccable.


 California Maki, Php 140.00


The California Maki was beautifully presented. I could smell the wasabi that I hate. There's the classic taste of California Maki, it was good but nothing's new. The highlight of my culinary evening is the stuffed chicken: Chicken roll with bacon inside served with tartar sauce. The smell of bacon,  crunchiness of the chicken skin and the creaminess and tartness of Tartar sauce was divine. The portion was good for two but just enough for my big meaty appetite. Not powdered, my juice was from fresh local citrus fruit, Kalamansi, which I really liked. I sealed my Japanese cuisine dinner with Banana Nut a la Mode; 4 pieces of banana spring rolls with peanut butter inside, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup on top. Overall, Omakase is perfect for rare and special occasions. The food is really good.


 Banana Nut a la Mode, Php 120.00


Food Quality : 5
Ambiance      : 5
Service          : 4
Cost/Prices    : 4

The project's criteria are; Food Quality, Ambiance, Service, and Cost/Prices, where  Five (5)   indicates "Exceptional Experience", Four (4)  indicates a place "worth a comeback", three (3)  means "a casual place to eat", two (2)   means "acceptable", and one (1))   means "poor".



Omakase Japanese Cuisine
Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati Ave., Bel-Air
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines

Phone:(02) 467 3150



The project's criteria are; Food Quality, Ambiance, Service, and Cost/Prices, where  Five (5)   indicates "Exceptional Experience", Four (4)  indicates a place "worth a comeback", three (3)  means "a casual place to eat", two (2)   means "acceptable", and one (1))   means "poor".


International Release: Blue Suede Shoes from Mundo




Alert the media!!! I'm back to blogging, lol!

Yep, here I am again after a long and busy blog holiday. I had a lifestyle overhaul - I've been busy with office work and other things that I've took for granted when I was busy writing, eating, cooking and traveling. Beyond that, I felt the need to quit "seeking attention" for a while because some of my stories and experiences were misinterpreted and caused a bit of trouble.

Now, let’s talk more about me, me, and me.

That's what this blog site is all about to begin with. You may become tired of me and the things that I do but I'll write whenever I can until my breath fades away, LOL!

Let's start my return with a random post about my fashion statement last summer. You see, I got a pair of blue suede shoes from Mundo! At Php 2, 990.00 it's expensive for a-little-above-minimum wage earner like me. But I have an addiction to suede shoes these days and I was looking for a particular color of blue. An impressive pair of blue suede shoes indeed.

I found the electric blue suede loafers in The Ramp Crossings one pay day. I bought it immediately without thinking twice. I've been using it all throughout the summer; walking on the beach, biking, strolling in the mall, and in the office too. I wore it with, denim, white and/or orange shorts topped with white, blue and violet shirts and sandos.

The shoes are very durable and comfortable. I'm using it most of the time, the colors fades after some time but the inner and outer soles are still good. It was such a great purchase, I had no regrets.
Right now, its my favorite pair of shoes. So please...don't you step on my blue suede shoes! Well...
You can burn my house,
Steal my car,
Drink my liquor
From an old fruit jar.

Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh,
Honey, lay off of my shoes
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes.
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes.